Prepare the Greenhouse for Winter

Prepare the Greenhouse for Winter: A Comprehensive Guide

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Winter is coming, and for home and professional gardeners, you should make sure that your greenhouse is ready for the onslaught of the snow. So, how do you to prepare the greenhouse for winter?

Definitely, you have to set up your greenhouse properly since your beautiful plants will suffer in the end if you are under prepared. You would not want to waste all of your money and efforts, right? The preparation phase though is not as simple as it seems, especially since you need to have the proper checklist and knowledge.

You do not have to worry though as we are going to tell you the things that you should remember to make your greenhouse strong before winter comes. At the same time, we are going to include tips on how to go about these preparations.

The Greenhouse System: The Three Important Factors

Before we go on full details about what you should take note of, let us first discuss the three main things that make your greenhouse great, and they are the following:

1. Insulation System

This factor is more for the benefit of the plants because this is where moisture is kept or released. When your greenhouse has proper insulation, the soil will be healthier which can then affect the health of the plants.

At the same time, the temperature is controlled by way of a proper insulation system. This is important because seedlings can be susceptible to the current temperature of the greenhouse. Some plants respond well to warmth, while others prefer a cooler temperature.

2. Heating System

This is the raw form of the insulation system. We call it raw because every greenhouse has a heating system by way of grower lights, but what others fail to remember is that the heating system includes a blower which can distribute the heat throughout the greenhouse.

Without a well-functioning heating system, your plants will not grow. In severe cases, some plants do not even sprout. You might also be surprised that the plants would soon change their color.

3. Structure

Structure refers to the physical frames, stakes, and poles of the greenhouse. Since snow will be pouring over the cover, and heavy winds would be blowing, you have to make sure that the integrity of the greenhouse’s structure is maintained.

One loose frame can mean the complete collapse of the greenhouse which does not only bury the plants, but also expose them to harsh weather conditions. This is actually the factor that takes a lot of time, as you really have to inspect every nook and cranny.

Prepare the Greenhouse for Winter: The Checklist

Now that you know the three critical factors, you already have some type of outline that you can follow instead of randomly checking things in your greenhouse. Here are some things to remember:

1. Insulation and Heating Systems

  • Concentrate on heating as this is the factor that usually flares up when winter starts. What you need to do is clean the furnace and check the pilot lights, vents, electric and gas lines, and energy curtains.
  • For the energy curtains, check for tears and seals. If you determine that they already have a poor condition, consider replacing them.
  • The curtain system should be reprogrammed or at least paused so that there will be no rapid air intake.
  • Lubricate the motor bearing and pumps.
  • You can also set the corridors or walkways to have certain points where the cooler temperature is set.
  • Test out your generators and temperature alarms.
  • Look at the logs to pinpoint the exact equipment that is faulty, needs maintenance or repair, and is completely functioning.
  • As for cooling, check the evaporating cooling systems, fans, shade systems, vents, and electrical wirings.
  • You can empty all the pump tanks during autumn; vacuuming it is also an option.
  • The sensors should also be in tip-top shape, so check the calibration, power connection, and look for any type of damage.
  • The misting equipment should also be checked. This includes the fluid flow, motors, valves, and punctured liners.
  • Clean the filters.
  • Make sure that there are no problems with the drippers. You can do so by checking for clogs or kinks.
  • Check if the fluid is flowing properly.
  • The fertigation system can be properly maintained by doing monthly flushes, testing of the emitter, and cleaning of the injector.

2. Structure

  • Look for signs of deterioration on the concrete structure or piers. You should also check the bench or structure foundation. Additionally, do not forget to check the walkways.
  • Avoid any type of glazing, so be on the lookout for inflations, light transmissions, punctures, and cracks.
  • As for the gutters, they should be thoroughly cleaned. You should also inspect them if they have leaks or rust.
  • Do not forget to look at the downspouts.
  • Vents can be adequately maintained by having proper motor lubrication and smooth operation.
  • Make sure that everything is tightly sealed and make the necessary adjustments if there are any gaps.
  • Rack and pinions should also be aligned. You can check that by running the vent machines and see if they are running smoothly.
  • You also have the option to lock down the vent completely or just turn the toggle until it switches off.
  • Plumbing is also essential, so check for leaks, rust, and proper drainage.
  • Focus on the wiring and look for damaged wires or any signs of corrosion.
  • Make sure that you have safeguards for fire safety. You should at least have fire extinguishers at hand, working smoke detectors, and an exit plan. After determining fire hazards that might be present, remove them.
  • Prepare safety equipment like a first aid kit or some type of body or face protection.

Final Thoughts

The checklist that we gave on how to prepare the greenhouse for winter is actually an exhaustive one, so make sure to tick every bullet. It can be a lot but trust us; it is worth your while. Better safe than sorry, right? Just remember the three important factors and their components, and you can sleep soundly during winter, knowing that your plants and greenhouse are safe.

Margo L

Hi, I'm Margo have just recently graduated from UNL's Agronomy and Horticulture department. I grew up on a farm in south central Nebraska and was always in the garden.